Sunday, May 2, 2021

"Too" Tired Part II, Squared

 Visit #1305, Saturday 1 May 21, 9:30-11:45AM, 3.2 miles, 2.8lbs. of litter.

Temps in the mid 60's, sunny.

First, a Public Service Announcement:

The May 2021 issue of Connecticut Magazine has a special section devoted to hiking, with a whopping TEN articles devoted to the subject. Lace up your hiking boots and go get a copy!

So why is this edition of This Week In Hubbard Park titled  ""Too" Tired Part II, Squared?"

First, because this week I was going to recover the remaining abandoned tires I was aware of in Hubbard Park. 

And second, because your quirky author received his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday and not only did it make me tired, it felt like I was hit by a bus full of sumo wrestlers who just left the All You Can Eat buffet. Sweats, chills, aches; I was out of work and on the couch for two days, most of the time unconscious. I didn't think I'd pull off a session in Hubbard Park this weekend, but the vaccine's effects left as fast as they appeared so I was mostly good to go on Saturday, and the hike flushed out what remained leaving me feeling as good as Saturday's weather looked.

I wanted to tackle the two remaining tires late in the hike, just in case they tied me up for a long period of time. So I hiked a clockwise loop, over I-691 and past the Halfway House, doing the usual litter pickup.

At just over the one hour mark I reached the location of the remaining tires.

And unlike last week, it was dry and neither tire gave me a lengthy, stubborn mule fight.

The prep work I performed on the first tire last week saved me much digging but it did take over 750 lbs. of pulling force to free the tire.

The second tire put up less resistance than its buried image would lead you to believe.

I wrestled both tires to higher, level ground, secured them with a comealong strap, looped the strap around my waist, and dragged them the half mile (I measured!) to the water treatment plant where I'm sure they're going to annoy someone.

Next week I plan a return to more rational activities.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

"Too" (3, 4, 5!) Tired

 Visit #1303, Saturday 24 April 21, 12:25-2:30PM, 3.6 miles, 6.9lbs. of litter.

Temps in the low 70's, sunny.

After finding an abandoned tire last week, I was reminded of another tire I was aware of down near Merimere Reservoir. I brought a shovel with me this week thinking I could dig it out.

No way.

Enroute, I picked up a lot of broken glass and it was tearing holes in my trash bag. I re-bagged it and left it at the water treatment plant.

Reaching the tire, I gave it a shot. What was I thinking?!

It wouldn't budge so I left it, with a Plan B in mind.

I followed the trails back over I-691 and reached the second tire.

My fantasies of digging this tire out of the ground were just as foolish as the first tire.

I left it for Plan B as well. I returned to the park and dropped off my second bag of trash for the day.

I wasn't going to wait until next week to execute Plan B, but rain was forecast for Sunday.

Well, it was a wet, muddy tire fight. But I was not to be denied my tires!

NOTHING can resist the pull of a comealong...

More digging was required. Can you dig it?

I thought I'd be done here and could head to the other tire back at the reservoir-I was wrong.

There was a SECOND tire underneath the first. It succumbed to my comealong as well.

But wait; there's more!

There was a THIRD buried tire nearby. I had to dig and pull it out as well. 

Then I had to drag them back to the park. This put your Crossfit tire-flipping nonsense to shame because this was REAL work, with three dirt filled tires. In the rain. And mud.

By my estimate, I had to drag them at least 1/4 mile. 

So what about that first tire near the reservoir (now tire #4), you ask?

I returned to it and started work, only to spy a FIFTH buried tire nearby. Ain't gonna happen. Not today. Next week. Maybe.

Just how muddy was it on Sunday?

I went home and stripped in front of the washing machine. I had to wash everything four times. Way too much fun...

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Mop Up Operations

 Visit #1302, Saturday 17 April 21, 11:25AM-2:00PM, 4.0 miles, 89.1 lbs. of litter.

Temps in the low 60's, variable cloudiness.

I returned to the homeless camp I found last week for the sole purpose of removing all the abandoned camping gear, food containers, clothes, and trash.

Having found and inspected the site last week, I knew what I would need to bring for a successful trip, and as a result I encountered no major difficulties.

Here's the site as I found it Saturday as I began to pull everything apart.

Honestly, I didn't take a detailed inventory but sorta thought there was a tarp among the mess that I could use to drag everything down to the water treatment plant. As luck would have it, there WAS a tarp, and it had grommets! Since I always pack a couple pieces of rope, I was able to pile a heavy mass in the middle of the tarp, draw the rope through the grommets to cinch up the package, and it was mostly downhill to the plant where I would leave it. Below is after the first trip; you can see the brown tarp on the right.

I folded the tarp, brought it back up, and made a second trip. That's the bundled tarp on the left, with my rope tethered to it on the right. Fortunately, the tarp survived all that dragging through the woods.

One last trip to add to the pile. Oh, the water department is going to love seeing this-NOT! I scribbled a note on the cover of the Rubbermaid container explaining everything. Hopefully they find, read it, and give me a pass.

And here's the cleaned up camp site.

With some time left on my schedule, I thought I'd hike a short loop of some trails and pick up litter. But as I neared the Halfway House I spied this:

I must have walked this trail hundreds of times and never saw this off to the side. Rather then continue on my way, I rolled the tire all the way to the water treatment plant and left it with the camp site garbage.

I returned to the park and dropped off my last bag of trash. Next week I hope to return to normal operations.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Unexpected


This view from West Peak could only be enjoyed if you started early enough to catch the sun rise over Meriden. Guess what I did...

Visit #1300, Saturday 10 April 21, 6:00-9:10AM, 4.7 miles, 6.0 lbs. of litter.

Temps in the 50's, sunny.

Visit #1301, Sunday 11 April 21, 3:50-5:00PM, mileage not recorded, 24.0 lbs. of litter.

Temps in the low 60's, cloudy with scattered showers.

I started Saturday's hike very early so as not to draw attention while painting over graffiti I discovered last week. I suspected whoever bothered to bring a spray paint can with them last week likely used it in more than one location. I went in search to find and cover any and all I found.

Every year I'm amazed finding these daffodils thriving so far away from the bloom in around Mirror Lake.

On the walkbridge over I-691 I found this tag. That's my bag o' tricks in the photo.

I reached into my bag o' tricks for some sandpaper.

I found a couple painted rocks tucked in to a tree.

Here's Season of the Missing Glove 2020/21 #18, the Work Glove Edition. I'm not sure work gloves qualify as a worthy entry because I tend to think it should only apply to winter gloves buy hey; it's MY BLOG!

Every once in a while I get a little payback for my work. Today was one such day!

I kept finding these pink circles at various points in my hike. Fortunately, they were made in chalk obviously by an environmentally sensitive person; they'll eventually wash off in the rain.

Here's where my suspicions mentioned above paid off. While the graffiti I was targeting would be further along today's hike, I found this duplicate near West Peak. I came prepared with a gallon of paint.

I hiked to West Peak expecting more of the same and I wasn't disappointed.

Things were uneventful until after passing by Castle Craig and hiking the White Trail down. This next tag was discovered last week.

I brought a can of spray paint to address this quickly.

At the bottom of the White Trail was the original tag that was the impetus for all today's painting.

Down at the Halfway House, I found yet more.

My bag o' tricks wasn't removing this well, so I opened the can of paint and used my finger instead of a brush to save some time.

Heading back to the parking lot, I found one last piece of graffiti (actually three) on this gate. Sandpaper did the trick.

For all the painting today, it paid to wear gloves!

I dropped off my bag of litter for the day...

...but I wasn't done.

Somewhere between the Halfway House and Merimere Reservoir, I spotted what appeared to be yet another illegally built mountain bike trail being constructed. I thought I'd return on Sunday, investigate and try to cover the trail.

Instead, when I returned and followed the trail, what I found was an abandoned campsite, presumably from a homeless person. The trail was not created by mountain bikers but from the person's foot traffic. These sites usually get vacated when the weather gets too cold.

What a huge mess; empty cans, bottles, tarp, sleeping bag, camp chair, pot, shopping bags, food containers. It must have been months of accumulated garbage. I wouldn't be able to clean it all up in one trip but I could start even though it wasn't in today's plans.

These bags were large and heavy, and it was going to be chore carrying these out of the woods. Then I had a MacGuyver moment. Here's how I schlepped them the half mile or more to the water treatment plant, where I left them. It was uh, not quite a walk in the park, pun intended!

Of course, I'll report on my progress as I clean up the site.